Our Top Ten Favorite Countries in the World

Since we can’t travel internationally for who knows how long, Matt and I have compiled our top 10 favorite countries to visit.  We spent a long time sorting through our list and based the criteria on: food, scenery, people, atmosphere, uniqueness, and overall vibe. 

TEN
Starting with number 10... Thailand!! .
I love Thailand because it has amazing food, great climate, the most friendly people, beautiful beaches, and visiting an elephant sanctuary was an experience I’ll never forget!  Matt would probably say his favorite experience was taking a boat to James Bond Isand and the kids would say the beautiful beaches were their favorite!  Thailand is probably one of the most child-friendly places we've ever traveled to.  We were so impressed with how accommodating everyone was with our kids.  They literally went out of their way to help us and love on our children and it made us feel so much more at ease throughout the trip.  

NINE
Number nine… Peru! This is the only country on our list that at least one kid hasn’t traveled to, and I honestly don’t know how we would have done this trip with our toddlers because there is so much hiking that made it amazing!! .

I’m fascinated with Machu Picchu in Peru because it was just discovered only 100 years ago when an American archeologist had this inkling that the rumors of this lost city actually existed. He traveled by foot and mule along what is now known as the Incan trail, talking to local farmers along the way. An 11 year boy led him to the ruins! And this fascinating Incan fortress is the most scenic place ever!! 

EIGHT
Number eight of our top 10 favorite countries is… Japan! But if you were to ask Dylan, he would tell you it’s number one on his list! We eventually figured out that the only reason why is because there is a McDonalds on every street corner in Tokyo! πŸŸπŸ˜‚ Matt and I always like countries that feel totally different culturally than the US. Japan is definitely that and we just loved the combination of city, beautiful nature, different foods and overall feel of Japan. Like, hotels that require you to take off your shoes at the door and only wear slippers, food we could not identify, and almost no English speakers. It was so interesting for us to experience! 





SEVEN
Number 7... England!! There are so many wonderful aspects to the English culture.... the music, quaint cottages and beautiful architecture, the royal family, English tea... that accent!! πŸ˜πŸ’‚πŸ»‍♀️πŸŽΆπŸš•πŸ° Also, if you are looking for an easy trip- they all speak English and it’s a pretty short flight (from NY). Just watch out because everything’s pretty pricey. πŸ’Έ But we’ve already been three times (Once before kids and twice with!) and I would not be surprised if we end back there again soon (when things open back up) because we just love it so much!!

SIX
South Africa Ranks number 6 in our travel list. We chose South Africa because it is malaria free, they have awesome game parks for safaris, and it has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world!

We did two type of safaris. One was self guided in our car and the other was a guided Tour in an all-terrain vehicle. Both experiences were really neat and we were so thankful to see every animal we wanted to- even lions!

We were super impressed with South Africa and would highly recommend going!




FIVE

At number five... France!! There is still so much of France we need to see, but what we have visited so far, we’ve absolutely loved! I have always loved Paris, so we went back for our 10 year anniversary when Charlie was just a baby and it was just so wonderful!! I love the French culture, food, and beautiful architecture. There are so many sections of Paris to explore and it is all so unique. This past trip, we also went to Mount Saint Michele & Versailles, which were just gorgeous!

FOUR
Number four is Italy! The first time we went to Italy we decided to “wing it”, which meant we didn’t book any accommodations or train tickets and just decided to figure out where we were going and where to stay as we went. We definitely ran into a lot of problems, but we didn’t have any kids and it was so fun to just roam around the country and decide how long we wanted to stay in each area. We ended up in Rome, Sienna, Florence, Pisa, Venice, Naples, Almafi, Sorento, Capri, Pompeii, and then back to Rome. It was definitely a trip I’ll never forget. I just love Rome- I think it’s my third favorite city in the world! 

The second time we went back, Dylan was not even one year old... we started in Rome and took a cruise around the boot with my grandparents! They never made it off the ship, but it was still so special to come back on the boat each night and have dinner with them and spend time. We definitely love traveling by car/train better than a cruise but I could see us taking cruises when we are older for sure! It’s a great way to see a lot of places, but you do miss out a little bit of experiencing the culture in each city that you visit.


THREE
Number THREE of our top ten favorite countries in the world is... Greece! .

You guys! Greece is amaaaaazing! If you love beautiful islands, interesting architecture, amazing healthy food, history, friendly people, & a laid back culture, than Greece is the place for you! It literally has the full package, and as I’m writing this I am wondering to myself why we didn’t pick Greece for number one!  We first went to Greece on a Continki tour before kids and met the most amazing people- some who became lifelong friends...who also met on the trip and are now married!!! 😍) We island hopped around and ended in Athens. Santorini is definitely on my list to return, and so is Athens!! Then after Dylan was born, we went back to a few other Greek islands on a cruise we took with my grandparents. Both times we just loved everything about the culture, food and beauty of this scenic country!




TWO 
It’s.... SWITZERLAND!!!
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Gah! I am so sad looking at these pictures because we were supposed to go back there for Matt’s 40th birthday in May, and thanks to Covid, we have no idea when we will get to go back. Can you spot a teeny tiny Christopher bump?? Traveling while pregnant is AWAYS harder for me which is why a redemption trip is a must in my book. But really, these pictures say it all about the place. 😍 Switzerland is just absolutely gorgeous... even the cattle are beautiful in Switzerland! We loved all the scenic mountains & lakes everywhere. We took the train to get around the countryside and it was so nice to look out the window of our train car and see the landscape- it’s breathtaking and definitely our favorite country for beauty! When you go, try all the yummy cheeses- fondue is amazing- and chocolate too!! Switzerland is pricey, so be aware of that. Also, depending on where you are, there are four different languages spoken throughout the country- so make sure you have a few different translation books with you. πŸ˜‰ But if you go, I promise, you will love it!!! 😍

ONE 
Number ONE on our top ten list, our absolute favorite country to visit in the entire world... Israel!!! 😍 We’ve been twice, once before kids on a Holy Land tour and again seven years later with 3 year old Dylan and a baby Christopher. We liked it even more the second time and have promised to return again every seven years, we love it so much!!
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Are you surprised? Let me tell you why we love Israel so much: first, Matt and I both read our bibles every day and there is so much context that takes place in this small country. I just love reading scriptures and knowing exactly what the landscape looked like and seeing ruins from Bible times. For me, it has just made the Bible become even more alive!!! Israel is known as the “Holy Land” and it really does feel so much like that to us!
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Also, I just love the blend of so many different cultures and religions all in one place. There is no where else in the world that feels the same as we feel walking around the streets in the city walls of Jerusalem. And the biblical historical sites will definitely make a lasting impression on you. Also, the food is amazing and people are so kind, especially to kids.
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We last went in 2017 and Dylan was only 3 but he totally understood all of the Bible stories we told him as we walked around Jerusalem. When we go back, he will be 10 , Christopher, 8, and Charlie 6. I can only imagine how much more they will understand and learn when we go.

It's been so fun for Matt and I to relive our travels as we constructed this top ten list.  We cannot wait to get back "on the horse" again when travel can pick up and I'm so curious to see how this list will change for us as our kids get bigger and we are able to explore more parts of the world. 

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